This piece comes to us from MCDM student Sarah Slaid, fresh from Business Innovation Factory Summit 9, which she attended with Comm Lead Associate Director and Flight Director, Anita Verna Crofts. BIF-9 professes to be “a national gathering of amazing people driven by their passion, creativity and smarts to create value in entirely new ways. A two-day storytelling jam, peppered with tales of personal discovery, innovation and transformation, the Summit provides participants with the space to be crazy, get inspired and collide with unexpected collaborators.” . The Business Innovation Factory in Rhode Island is “a platform for innovation” where innovators test ideas in real world situations. Did BIF-9 live up to its pre-story? Read on and see.
BIF-9: 2 days, 32 speakers, 32 incidents where I found myself in complete awe. BIF-9 touts “think transformation; try more stuff.” In two days, 32 storytellers spoke about their personal journeys, professional experiences, and learned moments with innovation.
Certain stories stuck with me for several reasons: the storytelling lens, personal reflection, and/or career aspirations. In an attempt to remain true to the practice of communicating succinctly in our digital era, I have put together a list of my “top ten” favorite quotes from the speakers’ stories.
10. “Let your point of view collide with others’; find the missing piece to catalyze innovation.”
– Saul Kaplan; founder of Business Innovation Factory
9. “Think outside the box by redefining the box.”
– Easton Lachappelle, age 17; prosthetic robotocist (This “kid” created a robotic arm with the help of a 3D printer. His idea stems from his passion of wanting to make peoples’ lives better in an affordable way. He is 17!)
8. “Create the world you want to live in; appeal to the better nature of your audience by always assuming they are good; and go all in, set up your world and jump in.”
– Evan Ratliff; Co-founder & CEO of Atavist.
7. “Just do work. It will eventually lead you to the right pond.”
– Scott Heimendinger; Seattle Food Geek & Director of Applied Research at Modernist Cuisine
6. “We are no longer an experience economy, rather we are now in an engagement economy. We must learn to embody the values of our audience, generation, product, narrative, etc.”
– Bruce Nussbaum; Professor of Innovation and Design at New School
5. “The ability to solve unfamiliar problems in our era of complex interactions depends not on the limited value of training and preparation but on flexibility and adaptability. Control is for beginners.”
– Carl Stormer; principal/founder of jazzcode, inc..
4. “Make a pure interpretation of reality; make sense of your world. It will free you from your preconceptions and allow you to observe the world as it is to help you make decisions and then not be afraid to change your mind.”
– Carmen Medina; retired Deputy Director of Intelligence, CIA
3. “There is not a single group of employees that is smarter than the collective intelligence of customers.”
– Steve Blank; Author, Educator, & Serial Entrepreneur
2. “A network is worthless unless you share it.”
– Deb Mills-Scofield; Disruptor at Mill-Scofield, LLC (Deb is incredibly loved by the BIF community and also spoke about the importance of having a network that is deep, diverse, and intentional. Such a wise woman.)
1. “A good question will always beat a good answer. Ask ‘what’s next?’ and live with curiosity and courage to help prepare yourselves and those around you with how to deal with transition.”
– Alan Webber; Co-Founder of Fast Company magazine
Alan Webber closed BIF-9 with, “Everyone’s life is an experiment of one; but no one should do it alone.” His closing statement embodies the spirit, culture, and values of BIF-9: we must connect and inspire one another toward a better future. BIF-9 was not just an event, it is a community that I am now forever a part of and I vow to pay forward its message in my personal life, career, and the Comm. Lead leadership course I am helping Anita Verna Crofts with in the winter quarter. It’s the least I can do to express my gratitude for the opportunity I was granted by BIF and Anita.